China got off to an explosive start in 2011 Asian Cup qualifying on Wednesday with a 6-1 thumping of Vietnam, while Bahrain and United Arab Emirates secured comfortable wins to take early group leads.
Rebounding from their shock early exit from 2010 World Cup qualifying, China surged to the top of Group D after a Gao Lin hat-trick, and Bahrain made the Group A headway with a 3-1 win away to Hong Kong.
UAE moved top of Group C after thrashing a hapless and breathless Malaysia 5-0 in Kuala Lumpur.
Two goals apiece from Mohamed Omar and Ismail Mater and a late strike from Ahmed Khalil embarrassed the hosts, whose depleted squad had only three members deemed fit enough to play.
Gao Lin put China ahead after only one minute in Zhejiang, only for Nguyen Vu Phong to level for the Southeast Asian champions nine minutes later.
China then went into overdrive, with Gao adding a second on 21 minutes followed by goals from Du Wei (29) Jiang Ning (37), and Hao Junmin (47). Gao netted his third seven minutes from time.
In Hong Kong, Ismaeel Abdullatif and Abdulla Fatadi put Bahrain two up inside 37 minutes. Salman Isa scored a third close to the end before Isa Cheng Siu pulled one back in stoppage time.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the 2011 finals, where they will meet hosts Qatar, champions Iraq, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and India.